The rise in the number of movie theatres throughout the 1970s suggests that Singaporeans have long loved going to the pictures. What a difference four decades has made! Many of these movie palaces have subsequently been destroyed or reinvigorated as entertainment and retail destinations.
The Alhambra Theatre (Beach Road), Arcadia Cinema (East Coast Road), Diamond Theatre (North Bride Road), Hoover Theatre (Balestier Road), and the Queenstown Cinema, which was demolished in 2013 are just a few of these vanished cinemas.
The Beach Road Shopping Centre, one of the 1970s’ early cinemas, continues to operate and function as a cinema today. The Singapore government has achieved this while maintaining a high rate of renewal. The cinema is within the Golden Mile Scheme, which was established by the Urban Redevelopment Department of HDB in the 1960s. The Golden Mile Tower, which was completed in 1973 and designed in a similar brutalist style, was built alongside with its more renowned neighbor, the Golden Mile Complex, in 1973.
The Golden Theatre was Singapore’s first and largest cinema, built by Chong Gay Theatres when it opened in with a 1,500-seat theatre. From the 1960s through the 1990s, The Palace was one of Singapore’s most popular cinemas. It showed films in Chinese until it closed in 1997 because of competition from modern multiplexes. The first hall was ultimately divided into smaller halls that showed mostly Hindi and Tamil movies. There are four rooms in this hotel: the Golden Theatre, the Golden 1, the Golden 2, and the Golden Studio.
The cinema, which recently announced that two of its four theatres would be retrofitted into an independent screening room and event space called The Projector, made headlines a few months ago when it was reported that two of its four cinemas will become a venue for independent films. The Projector will take over the top floor of Golden 1 and 2, which are on the fifth storey.
The Grand Hall, which is now a 1,000-seat theatre on the third floor, will continue to be used as the Golden Digital Theatre under its present management, Ayngaran International. The Projector’s website says that it will add more English-language movies in the second half of 2019. The site also says that by January 2020, it will have added official programming for Hindi and Tamil films. The Golden Theatre’s golden history will hopefully endure with the times, thanks to the continued support of moviegoers.